Su Qing was too thin. His legs were skinny and straight and Shen Yi could hold his ankles with a light grip. He trembled so badly that he made Shen Yi feel like he would break at any time. Shen Yi was momentarily horrified by his thoughts but he seemed to be stimulated by some type of sadistic desire.
Broken and meaningless words overflowed from his mouth and Su Qing finally couldn’t help crying. He buried his face in the pillow as if he wanted to escape from the extremely real sense of shame.
Shen Yi was afraid that Su Qing would be suffocated so he reached out to lift up his face, only for his hand to become wet. The tears burned at his heart and soberly reminded him of what he was doing.
“Does it hurt?” Shen Yi asked gently.
He was about to pull out but Su Qing struggled sideways and hooked their little fingers together. “I like it.”
He said, ‘I like it.’ Thus, the indestructible things were broken bit by bit. Above the ruins, the future of nothingness was being reorganized. It was far away and it wasn’t known where it led. It might be death or a new life.
Yet in that moment, Shen Yi only thought about this moment and just wanted to live in this moment.
At the moment of release, Shen Yi heard Su Qing crying on his shoulder and requesting, “Hurt me in the future, okay?” (The term used here can mean hurt/sore or to love dearly. So Su Qing’s words seem to have a double meaning.)
Shen Yi passed through the long, narrow and deep tunnel and the sky was bright again. It was as if the brief darkness was just an illusion.
Shen Yi recalled that perhaps it was this gentle light that allowed him to walk more firmly and quickly in the dark night.
His heart had always been filled with other things and he could only leave a corner of a barren land to Su Qing. However, when he returned, he found that the barren land was covered with seeds of wild grass.
The spring wind blew and a prairie fire started in an instant.
Feng Yu parked his car in a hidden corner and waited a few hours before Shen Yi finally appeared in his vision.
He quietly watched as Shen Yi strode upstairs in a hurry. A long time passed before he smiled bitterly. He was just a bystander from beginning to end.
“Su Su… cough, Su Qing, someone just called you.”
Su Qing came up from the cafeteria after eating and his male subordinate handed over his phone.
“Who was it?” Su Qing lowered his head to look through the call logs.
The man’s expression was a bit strange. He seemed to be holding back a laugh as he answered, “You gave him the name of Dog Man.”
He was originally just joking but Su Qing’s hand froze. His fingers instinctively weakened and the phone slipped down quietly, the screen shattering with a bang. Everyone was shocked.
“Su Su, are you okay?”
“Who did you say?” Su Qing’s face was pale. He wanted to pick up his phone but his legs were like dried plaster, stiff and difficult to bend.
“Su Su.” A deep and familiar voice was suddenly heard from close behind him. A few seconds ago, it was far away on the horizon.
Su Qing froze.
Everyone looked over and found a tall and upright man standing at the door, making the door look low. He wore a decent suit and had sharp features. He had high eyebrows and deep eye sockets. His eyes were dark and deep and his temperament superior. He gave off a sense of distance that made people instinctively feel afraid and they didn’t dare to look straight at him.
“Huh? It seems to be this voice.” The one who answered the phone before came up and pulled at Su Qing’s arm. “It’s him, that Dog…”
His colleague frantically blinked at him and he finally realized the atmosphere wasn’t right. Su Qing’s face was too pale.
No one spoke. The atmosphere was depressed and dull and it seemed like something was going to explode. These colleagues leaned a bit closer to Su Qing and watched the visitor with wary expressions to prevent him from doing anything to Su Qing.
Shen Yi immediately saw the bright Su Qing among the gray crowd. He was thinner than before. His chin had sharpened and his skin was so white it was slightly transparent. His hair was as soft as before but it was longer, as if recording the time. He was too thin to support his clothes but he was still beautiful and gentle, standing out from the crowd.
“Su Su, I’m here,” Shen Yi heard himself say in a slightly trembling voice.
“Yes,” Su Qing responded very lightly, like stamping a seal to show he understood. However, that was it. There was no other reaction from him. His face was turned away as he looked at the tea left overnight on the desk. He wondered if it was time to pour it out.
No matter how much he liked tea, he couldn’t drink it any longer. Green tea was cool in nature and it wasn’t suitable for him who had gastrointestinal problems. Everyone understood this truth. No matter how much he liked it, he couldn’t keep killing himself and ruining the tea that others flocked to.
He had been waiting, waiting for the sake of waiting, not for a deeper meaning. It was because the source of pain was to ask for something and to not be able to get it. If he didn’t feel any expectations then he wouldn’t feel pain.
Now it was over and he had fulfilled his promise. He fulfilled the innocent and pure promise he made when he was full of life, asking for nothing in return regardless of the consequences. He could go on the next journey of life. There was no Shen Yi on this journey but he could go on well by himself.
Everything would pass. The world would still turn even without anyone around him.
He had watched this world without Shen Yi turn around safely for over 500 days and found he could still live well. It wasn’t that he couldn’t live without Shen Yi. It was that he thought he couldn’t live without Shen Yi.
He didn’t want to force it anymore. It was one thing to fight for love but he also had to think about whether the other side was willing or not and if he was disturbing the other side. Previously, he was too offensive and reckless.
His stomach throbbed and stomach acid seemed to surge. His eyes were sore. Su Qing blinked a few times, suppressed this feeling and turned around with a smile. “Welcome back.”
He was clearly smiling but Shen Yi felt a bit cold due to this look. “I’m back but you’re gone, right?”
Su Qing looked at him. “I don’t understand.”
He wanted to see the slightest bit of pain on Shen Yi’s face to prove the traces he left behind and renew his expectations, but he was disappointed. Shen Yi was as cold as ever.
“I will treat you for dinner. It is time to be a good host.” Su Qing suggested. He remembered that his money was on his phone and his phone was broken. He asked his frightened colleague beside him to borrow some money but Shen Yi held his wrist and dragged him into the office.
“Let go!” Su Qing felt that the place that was being held was very hot. He wanted to remove Shen Yi’s hand but he heard Shen Yi whisper in his ear, “Resist again and I’ll carry you in.”
Su Qing saw so many pairs of eyes staring at them and instantly stopped struggling. His heart was very confused. He didn’t understand why Shen Yi was doing this. Didn’t Shen Yi care about his reputation the most? They never had any contact when in public.
“I have to take care of something. You don’t need to worry. There might be a misunderstanding…”
Su Qing calmed the crowd who was ready to rush over and deal angrily with Shen Yi. Before he could finish speaking, the office door closed and the noise outside was completely isolated. Without anyone else present and in a completely enclosed space, his sense of security seemed to disappear along with the voices of the people outside the door.
Su Qing instinctively leaned against the door but Shen Yi held both wrists. Su Qing was like a frightened primary school student blocked in a corner, not daring to raise his head.
“Su Su, you don’t feel safe around me.” Shen Yi noticed his fear and felt a great deal of heartache.
Su Qing was silent.
“Didn’t you say you would wait for me? I’m back now,” Shen Yi spoke as warmly as possible.
His voice was full of fatigue. He thought he was a tired bird returning to the forest but it was actually a man going into an empty building. He didn’t want to lose his temper but he couldn’t control himself. He felt that the string was too tight and could break at any time. Then he didn’t know what he would do to Su Qing.
Su Qing clenched his hands tightly and didn’t look at this person. As long as he didn’t look and didn’t listen, he wouldn’t be obsessed and get in the way again.
Shen Yi had lifted the burden on his body and could really pursue everything he wanted—money, men or women. Shen Yi had been forced by him, forced to be responsible and to worry about him.
Su Qing had occupied him for a long time and could no longer hinder his future. It was time for him to stop. If the world had to revolve around people, it should be people such as Xie Chi and Shen Yi. Their lives belonged to glory. He didn’t want to be the nasty rope that bound, dragged down and restrained the eagle.
“What are you thinking? Tell me, okay?” Shen Yi’s tone was imploring. This made Su Qing a bit dazed and deeply confused. This tone gave him the illusion that he was very important. Su Qing noted down this feeling and a trace of satisfaction appeared in his heart.
He looked up, summoned his courage and spoke firmly, “Shen Yi, you don’t like me. You just feel that something is missing and uncomfortable, so you want to pick it up. Or you feel that you owe me due to a chauvinistic sense of responsibility. You want to fulfill your promise and be responsible for me, but it isn’t necessary. I am a man and I can take care of myself. Don’t always think that I am weak. This place isn’t the app. There are no ghosts and no dangers. I am living well and don’t need protection.”
“You don’t have to reluctantly live with me. I’ve figured it out. The past two years have made me understand that it isn’t bad for me to be alone. Just be happy. Really, you don’t need to care about me. You don’t owe me anything. I’ve never blamed you. Grandma said that the sky won’t fall down even without someone else. I can walk alone for a long time, just like before.”
Shen Yi’s Adam’s apple moved up and down and his grip tightened without realizing he was hurting Su Qing.
However, Su Qing didn’t seem to feel the pain. He just withdrew one of his hands and hesitated for a few seconds, like a test. In the end, he touched Shen Yi’s face and murmured softly, “If you like someone, let them go. I will keep my love to myself so please don’t dabble in it anymore. People can’t stand the test. I’m afraid that my heart will be disobedient again and that I will start to move stupidly. I’m afraid of my own self and that I will live in long misery.”
A tear shed for some reason. He immediately lowered his head to cover it up. He stared at the water on the ground, his heart gradually becoming numb.
“Once you leave, I’ll wait for him to come back as if you’ve never been here.”
Su Qing remembered the romantic movie with the multi-universe theory he had watched two days ago. If there were really parallel worlds, out of the millions of Shen Yi, would one love him? He could always wait for the Shen Yi who loved him to come back.
He was unprepared when he heard Shen Yi declare from close to him, “Su Su, I love you.”
Su Qing thought he heard incorrectly. He trembled violently as he raised his head in disbelief. “You… you just said… what did you say?”
He turned his head away and tried to squeeze out a smile. “That… you don’t have to coax me. I am very good at entertaining myself. That…”
His lips were blocked.
Su Qing’s eyes widened and he pushed Shen Yi desperately. He could see a huge vortex spreading out behind Shen Yi. He was going to fall into that deep vortex again.
Shen Yi’s face was gloomy as he kissed Su Qing fiercely. There was no resistance allowed at all. Su Qing struggled but Shen Yi pulled him closer as if to rub Su Qing into his bones. A bloody smell spread between the lips and teeth. It was very salty and bitter, like tears and like missing someone.
Shen Yi missed him. Su Qing really felt it for the first time. He was in a trance as he felt that he might never get rid of the vortex he thought he had climbed out of. He might never be able to leave Shen Yi. He missed this person’s temperature.
Shen Yi let him go. Su Qing was held in his arms and Su Qing’s head pressed against his chest. Su Qing heard Shen Yi say in a low voice, “I’m not coaxing you. It is the truth.”
“I have always loved you. I fell in love with you at first sight. When have you ever seen me saving others? I have never loved anyone but you. I didn’t have time to have a relationship before. We’ll talk about it later, okay?”
Shen Yi never once said he liked Su Qing. Now he was saying ‘I love you’ so many times. Su Qing’s dead heart seemed to come back to life.
“I will explain everything in the past to you. If I lie to you again then I will be at your disposal in the future. Let me make up for what is missing, okay?”
“I’m not joking. It isn’t possessiveness or responsibility. It is love from beginning to end.”
“Didn’t you say to love you dearly? I will love you well in the future and be your support.”
“Su Su, Shen Yi lived the first half of his life for his mission. He will live the second half of his life for you, okay?”
Shen Yi’s chest was wet.
Su Qing had never heard Shen Yi say so many things at once. He knew that everything was from the heart. He knew what he wanted and he promised it. Shen Yi might lie but he never easily made promises. Every promise he said would become a reality.
The long pain and years of nightmares seemed to disappear.
“Su Su, let’s go home okay?” Shen Yi patted him on the back and asked sofly.
Shen Yi didn’t expect a response. It didn’t matter if there were other reasons. The point was that Su Qing did wait for him for so long. This was a fact. He did something wrong. He just wanted a chance to make up for it.
Silently, Su Qing hooked their little fingers together as he had done countless times before.
Shen Yi’s heart trembled violently.
Feng Yu waited downstairs and saw the two people upstairs hugging each other. He smiled bitterly while thinking that he witnessed the love of others. After two years of chasing, it broke and fell apart in an instant.
This was Su Qing. Su Qing always knew what he wanted.
Feng Yu was by no means comparable to Shen Yi. Feng Yu felt more awake than ever. He didn’t want to see more and drove away first.
Later, Shen Yi learned using the app that Xie Chi might be the demigod and his expression changed drastically.
Su Qing had been preparing for the dinner. He saw that Shen Yi’s face wasn’t right and that this person was restless, so he asked with a smile, “Do you regret it?”
“No, no.” Shen Yi glanced at the message that Li Hao had sent him and threw the hateful mobile phone far away. He helplessly said, “I am probably finished.”
“So serious?” Su Qing came over in a worried manner. “Tell me?”
Su Qing smiled angrily. “You just said you wouldn’t conceal anything from me—”
“I will say it, I will say it.” Shen Yi pulled him between his legs and gazed at Su Qing with a deep impression. “…You might be Xie Chi’s um.”
Su Qing didn’t hear the end words at all. In order to not expose this topic, Shen Yi chatted with Su Qing about other things.
When he was at Su Qing’s company, he was afraid that Su Qing would be too embarrassed to tell him if anything bad had happened in the past two years. He added some of Su Qing’s colleagues and wanted to question them when he was free.
After all, Su Qing always only reported the good news and not the bad. He liked to be silly and tended to think too well of people. If he encountered problems then he blamed himself instead of others. It wasn’t known if he was bullied.
Shen Yi’s original intention was this but he accidentally found some other information.
Shen Yi’s expression wasn’t very good when Xie Chi and Xie Xinglan came in the evening.
After drinking for three rounds, Xie Chi remembered something. He took something thin out of Xie Xinglan’s arms, tucked it into his sleeve and walked to Shen Yi’s side, asking in a low voice, “Go out and smoke a cigarette?”
“Okay.” Shen Yi glanced at him. His originally gloomy expression changed and there was an unusual smile on his face. Xie Chi didn’t know the reason. He thought of the handle he had on Shen Yi in his sleeve and blinked at Xie Xinglan. Then his mouth tightened when he saw Su Qing’s blank eyes and he strode outside.
Once the two of them left, Su Qing hesitated. He felt that he should get more familiar with Xie Xinglan so he mustered the courage to ask, “Why did they go out?”
Xie Xinglan was breaking open the crab shells for Xie Chi. He paused after hearing these words and was silent for a few seconds. “The father and son must have something to say.”
Su Qing didn’t know if it was his illusion but he always felt that Xie Xinglan was smiling when he said these words.
“Don’t worry, let’s eat.”
“Oh, yes.” Su Qing glanced in the direction of the balcony before slowly retracting his gaze.
It was the end of the year and on the balcony, a cold wind was blowing. Xie Chi tightened his jacket around him, lit a cigarette for Shen Yi and said with a smile, “Last time you did this for me. This time I will do it for you.”
Shen Yi was taken aback. He remembered the previous meeting between himself and Xie Chi and also smiled. “Thank you.”
He took it and inhaled in the midst of the cold wind.
Xie Chi stared at the neon-lit buildings in the distance. He remembered the last time he smoked with Shen Yi when he first learned that the Pet organization was behind everything. At the time, he thought there would still be many opportunities to meet. He didn’t expect for Shen Yi to die afterward and that it would be their last face-to-face meeting.
Back then, he had actually been quite relaxed. He had been a lone wolf for so long. Then he had a sense of belonging and a clearer goal because he had Shen Yi to pave the way first. Now they were smoking together. This was quite unexpected but there would obviously be many opportunities in the future. It was very good.
“A couple’s apartment. Isn’t this treatment quite good?”
“You must treat Su Qing well in the future.”
Shen Yi tilted his head at Xie Chi. “Should you be saying that?”
“Perhaps I am nosy?” Xie Chi laughed.
Shen Yi quietly told him, “Shouldn’t you be less nosy?”
Xie Chi was startled. He realized the meaning of this sentence and his expression changed. “You know?”
Shen Yi smiled coldly. “Xie Chi, you almost gave me a rival in love. Good job, you made Su Su sad.”
Feng Yu had suddenly come out of nowhere. It was easy to see that something else was going on. Only Su Su was so silly he didn’t realize it.
“……” Xie Chi coughed and turned away. “My original intentions were good.”
As he spoke, he felt he didn’t need to feel ashamed. In addition, Shen Yi was too arrogant.
“Wait, let me show you something,” Xie Chi told him.
Xie Chi smiled. “You will remember it.”
Shen Yi watched as Xie Chi pulled out a half-burned letter from his sleeve. Shen Yi suddenly realized what it was and his expression changed drastically. He moved to grab it but Xie Chi had already expected his reaction and hid the letter behind him.
“Mom? Should I let Su Su see what you call him?”
Shen Yi was concerned about face the most. He narrowed his eyes and asked, “What do you want?”
Xie Chi glanced at him meaningfully. “I think you might know? Li Hao told me that you looked for him… in addition, didn’t you say previously that you would thank me when you came back?”
He smiled at Shen Yi and showed the letter again. Shen Yi gritted his teeth. He didn’t expect Xie Chi to have this trap waiting for him. He couldn’t beat Xie Chi now.
“Su Su is coming.” Xie Chi looked behind Shen Yi. “You can think about it.”
Shen Yi saw Su Qing getting closer and gritted his teeth before his attitude changed 180 degrees. “Your son Shen Yi gives you the New Year’s greetings.”
Xie Chi froze for a moment before laughing happily. He felt slight regret that he didn’t call Xie Xinglan to hear it together. “I didn’t hear you.”
Su Qing had opened the door and Xie Chi’s anger was relieved. He no longer teased Shen Yi and threw the letter to him. Shen Yi hurriedly hid it in his pocket and continued to smoke like nothing happened. He walked to Xie Chi’s side and whispered slightly, “None of us should expose each other’s faults.”
“I know.” Xie Chi smoked his cigarette and generously promised.
Su Qing saw that the two of them were so close and felt it was strange. “The dishes are becoming cold. What are you talking about?”
Xie Chi saw Shen Yi become a bit stiff from the question and calmly replied, “Deepening the relationship between father and son.”
He seemed to hear the sound of Shen Yi’s teeth grinding.